Friday, January 29, 2016

Metalworking Book

As I'm sure all of you who visit here on more than just an occasional basis realize, I'm a voracious reader - even more so now that I'm semi-retired. I reside just about half way between two of the three branches of the county library system and I drive by on my way to work a branch of another county's library. I've got library cards for both counties, so I've got access to a lot of books locally and there's always inter-library loan for those that aren't available from the two county systems. I also have access to the college library but it's kind of a stinker - not much of a selection there. Pretty small collection. I'm not sure why that is but nothing much I'm interested in, which is saying a lot, because I'm interested in most everything.

Anyway, I knocked out a couple of easy who-dunnits and thought I'd look for something a little more enlightening. I stopped by the little branch library I go by on the way to work, perused the stacks and came across this one:

This is one kick-ass book. It's written by an older guy who obviously has been around for awhile and pretty much done it all. There's info on welding, sheet metal, machining (both manual & CNC), abrasives, shop math, drafting, rigging - you name it, it's probably in there. If you're above the absolute beginner level, this is a must read book. Lots and lots of really good information, not just the "how-to" on doing stuff, but also a lot of solid advice on attitudes and problem solving.

The first chapter should be required reading for everyone contemplating going into a trade. A lot of it is the same type of thing I've said a million times over the years, and probably every other shop teacher has as well, but he took the time to put it in writing and he did a very good job of it. I would think every high school counselor should read it as well. If they read between the lines a bit, they'd realize that most tradesmen are every bit as smart as the average Joe who goes to college. Formal education just misses the mark with a lot of these young men and women. Now that I think about it, probably should have the principals and the legislators read it as well.

One of the really interesting things I came across is the concept of the Open Shop night. I used to host those on a weekly basis for the boys. I picked up the idea from Surly's machine shop instructor when he was in high school. In the book, he makes the case for doing this at your place of employment. Only a few simple rules but rather than guys trying to sneak a job in on their lunch break or something, just come back to work one night a week and use the tools and equipment out in the open. Pretty nifty idea. Especially for the creative types that machinists and welders typically are.

The book is published by Industrial Press @ $29.99. I didn't check anywhere else for a better price. At thirty bucks it's a bargain. The author has a blog: HERE. He doesn't post on a regular basis it seems but there's a link at the blog to his You Tube channel. I haven't checked any of the videos out yet, mainly because I've been absorbed in the book.

Shopteacher Bob gives Metalworking: Doing It Better a five star rating! Read it - you won't regret it.


Frankie Flood said...

Tom, you tube channel is great! I love the book too.

Check out the video on the baby wilton vise that he's building. Monday Night Meatloaf episodes are also great!

Shop Teacher Bob said...

I found the time to look at a couple of the videos - wealth of information there. Talented guy. I'd love to be able to work along side a guy like him. So much to know and so little time to gather it all in.

Frankie Flood said...

I agree! I would love to learn from someone like him.